Hames' hit helps send AGWSR to state semifinal

Jake Ryder

FORT DODGE – Scott O'Brien didn't want Alyssa Hames to end her last at-bat on Monday afternoon with her bat on her shoulder.
With only one hit in her previous 11 at-bats this postseason, O'Brien gave Hames a little tough love to try and focus her on the situation.
"I got a little upset," O'Brien admitted. "I just wanted her to get out of her shell, she was getting too tight. Don't give up, don't just stand there. Make something happen."
Co-coach Brenda Drake added some words of advice when Hames stepped out of the batter's box. Her confidence renewed, Hames took the bat off her shoulder and helped change AGWSR's state softball fate.
Her looping single into right field brought home the game-winning run for the Cougars in a comeback 4-3 state quarterfinal win over Janesville on Monday night.
AGWSR (27-7) will play second-seeded Akron-Westfield (27-4) in Wednesday's Class 1A state semifinals at 1 p.m. in Fort Dodge.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, AGWSR kicked off the inning with Taryan Barrick being hit by a pitch. Her courtesy runner Haley Bakker scored on a Taylor Sperfslage single, with Sperfslage moving to second after the throw home to beat Bakker went wild.
That set up Hames' at-bat.
"[Drake] just told me to calm down," Hames said. "She said they knew I was a good hitter, and that's why they moved be up from 9th [in the lineup]. I just needed to stay calm and hit the ball like I know I can."
After striking out twice against Kennedy Meister in her first two at-bats, Hames made contact to pull the Cougars back ahead for good, with Sperfslage able to slide around the tag at home to score.
"I saw the girl coming in and she was pulled away from the plate, so I figured I'd try to slide around her," Sperfslage said. "I'm really glad I was able to be a big part of my team winning that game and I'm very proud. … We're a really great group of girls. That was a tough situation and we got it done."
Taryan Barrick, who didn't allow a hit until a Lily Liekweg double in the fifth inning, finished off the complete game victory in the seventh inning by picking up her 13th strikeout and coaxing a flyout and a groundout, working around a Liekweg two-out bunt single.
Barrick finished with three earned runs allowed on three hits, also allowing three walks.
After Monday's game, it sounded like Hames had broken out of her shell.
"We all knew she could do it," Barrick said. "She just had to know she could do it. She proved that she believed in herself and she brought a lot to that inning."
Hames added: "The nerves are gone. I'm just out here to have a lot of fun."

Check back in the coming days for more on AGWSR's state softball tournament run. The rest of the story on Monday's game will appear in this week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. 
Jville     010 020   0  —3   3   1
AGWSR   101 002  x  —4   4   2
WP: Taryan Barrick (7 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 13 K)
LP: Kennedy Meister (6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K)

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